Tag Archives: Classic Album Reviews

Jay Reatard: Live At Golden Plains [2008]


Comments: Hundreds of videos have been taken of Jay Reatard’s live performance, but never until now has there been an official live release. This LP captures Reatard’s live assault near perfectly — one song after another, little pause, screamed song titles before each, the occasional extended jam. This is from March 2008, so the set is heavy on Blood Visions and singles material. After “My Shadow” we hear a receptive cheer from the audience, but that is quickly lost after Reatard, Pope, and Hayes reel into “Oh It’s Such A Shame.” I remember seeing Reatard for the first time in July 2009 and thinking damn his set was way faster than this one, but that might be because he made more of an effort in pacing/slower playing for this occasion than during a usual show. Still, though, Jay’s slow is a normal person’s lightning quick. The barebones aspect of the performance really comes through as well. Reatard’s vocals aren’t as perfect (obviously) as they were mixed on record and some singing parts are ommitted like “she creeps me out” on “See Saw” in favor of an instrumental jam. Billy’s drum playing is heavy on the snare, man he loved doing rolls (“Fading All Away”) on that instrument. One song that particularly stuck out to me on this Live LP that never really had much of an effect on me on record is “So Useless.” I never appreciated its beauty. I was missing out! “So useless, I must be, to waste time with you!” “Hammer I Miss You Let’s GO! Hammer I Miss You” shouts Jay. Showing off his vocal varieties — a precursor to the bullshit Nicki Minaj now pulls — he really plays the shit out of that tune. Owning it. Jay can barely keep up the chorus on “Death Is Forming” and by this point in the set he must be exhausted to no end. “Death is forming death is forming death is forming forming death forming death fucking death forming” The set closes on “Let It All Go” with its constant barrage of guitar noise, pop hooks, and unpredictable finish. This is something that I highly recommend sharing with others who maybe never got to see a Jay Reatard show. It’s the closest we’ll ever get to Jay.

Classic Album Review: Beat Happening

: Beat Happening
Full Title: Beat Happening
Year: 1985
Label: K
Track List
1) Our Secret– 8/9
2) What’s Important– 9
3) Down At the Sea– 9
4) I Love You- 8
5) Fourteen- 8
6) Run Down the Stairs– 9
7) Bad Seeds (Live)- 5
8) In My Memory-8/9
9) Honey Pot- 8
10) The Fall- 7/8
11) Youth- 8
12) Don’t Mix the Colors- 8
13) Foggy Eyes- 8
14) Bad Seeds– 9
15) I Let Him Get to Me- 8
16) I Spy– 9
17) Run Down the Stairs– 9
18) Christmas- 7/8
19) Fourteen- 8
20) Let’s Kiss– 9
21) 1, 2, 3- 7
22) In Love With You Thing- 7/8
23) Look Around- 8
24) Untitled- Ungraded

Comments: This is the unflinching, incredible debut from the seminal “twee pop” group Beat Happening. You can call it twee, lo-fi, noise, etc. but ultimately it is Punk Rock- at its finest. In this record, BH, known for their amateur quality/attitude, are at their most primitive; the production is about as lo-fi as it gets before it becomes simply rubbish. On this LP, most songs are astonishingly decent pop tunes, with passion taking the front seat over musicianship. One can hear a lot of 60s surf rock influence as well as the outsider feel of The Shaggs and Half Japanese. Lyrically, most numbers are innocent in nature- “Down at the Sea,” ” Run Down the Stairs,” etc. There are also more than a fair share of love ballads- “Our Secret,” “I Love You,” “Honey Pot,” and the classic “Let’s Kiss.” Admittedly, not every track is good and some do suffer from the lack of “quality” recording and perhaps would have sounded better with a finer studio. My two favorite tracks are definitely “Bad Seeds” ( the guitar riff reminds me of the music in the James Bond Films; a very bad ass song!) and “I Spy.” All in all, this is a pretty nice debut from Beat Happening and it certainly is amongst the annals of “YOU CAN DO IT TOO!” records.

Grade: B+

“Bad Seeds” with clips from Over the Edge (1979)